I love grilled food. That smokey char just can't be beat. Growing up in Southern California, we had a gas grill right outside the kitchen and grilling was a way of life even in the winter. Up in the bay we stick to the summer for our grilling adventures, and I have been converted to charcoal. This weekend was the first time we felt it was really warm enough to be declared grilling weather, so we cooked up a simple dinner to celebrate.
Many embroidery tutorials start with the most common basic stitches. But there is an even more basic element to embroidery. Things like choosing the right hoop, transferring your design, how many plies to use for a stitch (and what dose that even mean?), and threading a needle are all essentials one must understand before attempting even the most basic stitch. So here are the most basic basics of embroidery.
There comes a point in many projects when it gets tough. For whatever reason things stop going smoothly and everything becomes a challenge. Over the years I have found these three things help me get over the hump.
1. You are a smart person, use your brain. When things aren't working out right, I tend to want to force them. Sometimes that means literally forcing my sewing machine to get through thick fabric, others it is figuratively forcing an idea that just isn't right. I have to tell myself to use my brain. I try to pinpoint the problem, and then think of the solution. It is pretty obvious stuff, but I still need to be reminded.
2. You have done something harder than this before. I like to think of something I have done successfully that was harder than whatever I'm struggling with at the moment. If I'm having a hard time building a headboard, I remind myself that I have built armchairs. This gives me confidence that as hard as it may seem at the moment if I could pull that off I can pull this off. If there is really absolutely nothing at all that has been harder than what I am working on, I remind myself how accomplished I will feel when I finish.
3. If you're not having fun, stop doing it. I make because I love making. For me, making is fun and challenging and absolutely fills me with joy. When I am not getting that feeling from project, something is wrong. It may be because I'm hungry or have a headache. It may be because I've lost confidence in the direction I'm taking with a particular project. It may be because I am just plain burnt out. No matter what the reason is, when I'm not having fun, the quality of my work suffers. I have to remind myself to stop. Maybe I just stop long enough to have a snack. Maybe I stop for the day to rejuvenate. Maybe I stop for two months to let an idea simmer or a project take a new direction. But I make sure that when I go back to it, I'm having fun again.
When a family friend bought a new apartment, she asked me to upholster a camelback headboard for the bedroom. Of course I was excited to take on a new project and began to research headboard tutorials online. As hard as I searched I was unable to find one that offered instructions for the quality headboard I wanted to make for my friend. So I made my own...
I've been a little busy this week with wrapping up some ongoing projects and working on my special super secret project I'm revealing next week. But I'm trying to remember that this is also my vacation. So this afternoon I took a walk with my mom to take in this gorgeous view of the clouds rolling in over the Pacific.
I love this soup. This is another recipe I have been making for so long that I have no idea where it came from (again if it is from you, let me know so I can credit you properly). In fact, I've been making this for so long that I have the recipe memorized. This is a super healthy and super easy soup that is delicious hot, but I love it cold. I make a big batch of it and portion it into single serving containers. That way I can grab one from the fridge and it's ready to go. It is a perfect accompaniment to a sandwich or salad for a healthy summer meal.
Colcannon is an Irish dish that was a part of our regular family rotation growing up. It is traditionally made with cabbage and potatoes, and it's delicious that way. I make traditional colcannon for St. Patrick's day every year. But as a regular part of my grown up dinner rotation, I make a more modern version with kale and sausage. Recipe follows.
When Lara came to visit this weekend, she brought a bunch of fun vintage clip-ons she had collected and wanted to turn them into post earrings. I agreed to apply my crafty skills, and it was surprisingly easy to do. Tutorial follows...
Whew! I feel like I need another weekend after that weekend! Lara and I chose a design and bought the fabric for her wedding dress. We had a fun crafting night converting a bunch of vintage clip-on earrings to post earrings. We had several rounds of celebratory cocktails. Most importantly... I bought a car! A brand new Honda Fit. By far the biggest and scariest purchase I have ever made. I was so glad to have the support of my best friend here to help me, I couldn't have done it without her. I've been scrimping and saving for what feels like forever now, and the pay-off is definitely worth it. Plus, Lara and I got to do some major wedding planning while sitting in the dealership lobby for hours. I had no idea it takes so much time to buy a car. All in all it was a pretty great and very exhausting weekend.